T Nation

Situational Awareness


To begin with, yes I noted they are a spit on the ground crowd of people.

What I am trying to say is Idaho lashed out with how he would like to slowly put this person to death starting with major nerve centres before finally finishing him off. My point gets around to being that since we have a video news bite of 30 seconds type of thing we can only go so far judging this violent act.

Yes, it is terrible, he has been arrested. Maybe the crowd in jail will view him as a low form of life?



I’m sure most of you were already aware of this. Thoughts and prayers to those affected.

I’m an if/then scenario kind of guy. This kind of thing is pretty tough to prepare for, IMO. Not unlike a VBIED, wrong place, wrong time you may well just be SOL.

I don’t know how to best take the fight to these cowards, but it’s high time. Stay dangerous. Be safe.


Here’s something I put together for people I train to carry a concealed handgun legally in Ohio:

So you’re gonna carry a loaded weapon in public. Good!
When we do that, we must remain alert if we think that weapon will save our ass. Fact is, it’s the man who responds, not the gun. The gun is a tool, an extension…

How do we know when it’s time to draw and fire?
Here’s a popular color code of awareness that guys who carry should live by.

Just a note from me----IF I determine I must draw, it’s 99.9% likely I will fire. Brandishing is not only ineffective and risky, its illegal. So if you draw, it should be only in response to the threat of severe bodily harm or death…ultimately you are who must judge whether a round leaves the barrel, but y would you draw if you don’t need to shoot? There ARE situations when having the firearm at ready is correct, but those situations are uncommon.

Color codes-these have a name. I just don’t remember it.

WHITE - oblivious/comfortable.
Example: Daytime at home, doors locked.

YELLOW – aware of everything within a 25’ radius.
Aware. Not paranoid, just knowing you’re responsible to react appropriately to anything in your 25’ bubble (typical minimum …radius)

ORANGE - Something in your bubble alerts you
Example, you’re standing in a public restaurant, bank, etc.–a person wearing dark baggy clothes walks into your bubble, and they’re …'acting funny," perhaps making quick movements with their hands, perhaps they’re looking like they’re sneaking around. Maybe they’re …reaching inside a coat fumbling for something. Regardless, your gut says they MAY be up to something.

At this level, it’s time to determine how you may respond to a potential threat. Ideally you can avoid conflict and walk away. IF you can safely get away, even run away, do so.

RED – Response REQUIRED! (imminent threat of severe bodily harm or death)

Non-lethal response is always preferable, not always possible.
If you’re in condition red, then when in condition orange you determined that avoidance or non-lethal response was not an option. If you cannot get away and must fight, then fight with all you have until the threat is stopped, per the laws of the state you’re in. In Ohio, if u must fire, you may fire until the assailant falls out of your front sight. One shot stops are desirable but uncommon.

AS FOR ME: the only time I exist in condition white is when I am asleep. Even our homes, whether we’re armed or not, aren’t always safe. Breaching a door/window is not a feat for anyone with the desire to do it. Therefore, I live in condition yellow even when I’m lying in bed before going to sleep, watching tv or talking to my wife. YELLOW is good at all times, whether armed or not. It gives you the presence of mind to be aware of your personal situation, known logically as “SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.”

Carrying is a right, but with that lethal option is (a lot of) responsibility.

Hanging a pistol on the belt, loaded, is not responsible carry. Knowing when and how to use that pistol is,


VERY good response!

Especially agree with the use of electronics. There are so many people who are just “not there” in public, walking down a street, in a store, etc., with their face in a cell phone, or music blasting, and it is just crazy!

Some time in the Middle East would certainly cause Americans to realize that paying attention (situational awareness) is friggin’ critical to living another day.

Another thing I sometimes hear people say is, "I wouldn’t go through there without a gun."
Ok, if one feels that way, it is best to avoid the place with a gun as well. Avoidance is an underutilized tactic, even in our concealed carry community.

Then we have those who are aware, but lack planning, and don’t train to respond IF something blows up. It is like some who carry think that they’re going to be able to draw and fire in a traditional manner, handle an attacker with one shot, and be done.
If one looks at Police/FBI data, it is readily apparent that “one shot stops” are rare. Maybe if there’s an immediate head shot…but that’s not an optimal target, especially under stress.

And we have our blessed brothers-at-arms who were trained to do a triple tap to center mass. Ok, sure, the thoracic cavity is the easiest to hit, and contains the vital organs, but even 3 rounds of 45ACP to that area may not stop a threat. It can sometimes take those, plus a few to the throat, and maybe even one across the 2 inch line across the eyes to get the job done (sadly.

Avoidance is key, but so is training for the “what if’s.” Targets at the typical range, or martial arts training, doesn’t adequately prepare one for close physical combat on the street. And if martial arts training prepares for the combat, a lot of times it doesn’t train one for “the finishing” of an encounter properly. Example, lady under sexual assualt, on her back, on the ground. Her options are somewhat limited here. Most rapists who are captured near the time of their crime (the worst crime IMO), are found to have scratch marks under their eyes, and if they got away with only that damage, their victim may well be dead. Had the victim plucked out that eyeball, which had to be in reach, it would have stopped the attacker and SHE would’ve walked away.

There are targets for strikes, jabs, elbows, and knees that Mr. Tae Kwon Do at the Y doesn’t teach, if he even knows them, because it makes people squeamish to consider the reality of a brutal attack. At best, with basic TKD training, or Tang Soo Do, sometimes een Jiu Jitsu, it just isn’t enough to decisively stop an attacker with lethal force.

Those trained with Jiu Jitsu techniques in the US Armed Forces are usually instructed differently than civilians as well. However, if an attacker presents the threat of imminent, severe bodily-harm or death, IMO we should respond with lethal force, whether with a firearm or otherwise. If unarmed, then we need to know how to be really lethal, really quick, especially since there is usually more than one attacker to contend with. So ya stop a threat, scan, and address the next until you can safely walk away and notify the authorities. It’s just not practical to train with only one-on-one combat scenarios all the time. We have to train to address one with lethal force and move to the next threat.

Sorry for that digression, but you mentioned the Middle-East, and it put my mind into the frame of being under attack by a group, and that the average American isn’t equipped to deal with just one attacker, much less two or more.

Scumbags run in packs, look for the weakest target, and usually pose enough of a threat that lethal force is warranted. We aren’t the police who are sworn to use “only necessary force.” If we are a civilian under assualt, then we need to respond with overwhelming force as appropriate.

Also, I feel that if Americans would train for such things more, there would be a decrease in crime. Too many people are ok with “9-1-1” and the ensuing wait, when if they were properly trained, they could stop an attack in less time than it takes for the PD to respond.

But back to my point - faces glued to cell phone screens, iPads, whatever, or music blasting away while someone is oblivious, is not smart behavior! It is precisely the lack of awareness that scumbags look for in a victim, just like an animal that hunts looks for the weakest or slowest in a herd. Criminals are very much like animal predators, and we honest citizens who wish to live another day, need to be very aware of that fact, our surroundings, and all of our options in handling a “situation.”



Interesting point of view, food for thought:

“cttsolutions"What makes knives so dangerous is that they take little skill to be lethal… what makes knives so great for defense is also that they take little skill to be lethal”


Absolutely! It’s a doubled edged sword. This also means though that if you are going to carry one for self defense that you’d better be ready to use it if need be and you’d better train Unarmed vs blade survival skills as well, because it could very easily be used against you with lethal efficacy (even by an untrained individual) if you aren’t using it yourself.


Thought about you the other day brother, when we were doing a little vehicle training. I know you are on patrol in a suburan/ rural area and the chances of you getting into a tic with vehicles involved is high. Just a refresher. Stay Safe.

The concept of a vehicle as some special item is often misplaced. From a tactical perspective it is only a vehicle when it is moving. When static it is part of the terrain and may offer cover, concealment or just function as an obstacle. Overwhelmingly in engagements around vehicles the best option is to move from it.

A non-armored vehicle affords different and inconsistent levels of ballistic protection based on the angles of engagement and the weapons system being employed against them. Since a vehicle sits off the ground, aside from upward or downward sloping terrain, high curbs or other manmade features on the threat side, they do not protect the feet and lower legs. Injuries to the lower extremities will cause what the military calls a “mobility kill”. Once mobility is lost the likelihood of success is slim without outside intervention.

The experienced combatant i.e. military member, LEO or trained citizen for that matter must understand that a vehicle, except in the narrowest of circumstances does not afford cover as defined. There is no such thing as “pretty good cover” or “partial cover” there is “cover” or what I will call enhanced concealment which means you can hide behind it but it may or may not stop incoming fire reliably. If it cannot definitively stop bullets, then by definition it is not cover… that’s just a fact. With that established, anything between you and the threat is better than nothing, so I am not saying a vehicle can’t protect you in some ways. What I am saying is that a vehicle should not be viewed overwhelmingly as cover nor as some special item in the scope of tactical considerations.

Another topic I hear talk about is the idea that glass can be cover in some instances. If we teach people to shoot out through glass at threats, then I think that neuters the argument right there. The concept of pillars being points of cover is patently false as well since one cannot claim that pillars though they may afford a level of enhanced ballistic protection will keep you from being shot. They are too narrow and are surrounded by either glass or open air if the windows are down or have been shot out. If you can’t hide your entire body behind it, then it’s not cover. Outside of luck and bad threat marksmanship, hiding behind a 3”-9” wide pillar for any length of time will likely leave you injured or dead in a combative engagement. For those that shoot pillars and say “see, it stopped x or y round” here is my 2 cents; bullets generally don’t come at you in ones and twos but by the magazine. There is not enough area covered by a pillar to make it worth loitering behind as though it is genuinely safer.

From the tactical perspective there are 6 principles I adhere to in open air engagements around vehicles. These should be common sense:
A vehicle is terrain unless it is moving, then it’s a vehicle again.
Fighting around vehicles is outdoor fighting and uses standard basic infantry tactical principles. THIS IS TRUE NO MATTER WHO SIGNS YOUR PAYCHECK, WHAT UNIFORM YOU WEAR OR WHERE YOU ARE i.e. RAMMADI IRAQ OR RICHMOND VIRGINIA. This is too often conflated with Close Quarters Battle (CQB) which is a more refined form of fighting “on a built up or enclosed structure”. It requires much more training, specialized equipment and detailed rehearsals when possible.
Anything is better than nothing but very little on a soft vehicle is cover.

Use every bit of ballistic protection that the vehicle may offer but don’t assume it is cover.
Keep the biggest chunk of metal you can between you and the threat as long as you can and be looking for the next best piece of terrain. As the threat moves you move keeping the vehicle as close to directly between you as makes tactical sense.

Move as soon as you can, move before you get pinned in a spot from which you can’t move.
That’s why the second of the first three steps of the SOF targeting methodology F3EAD is (Find) Fix and is followed by Finish. If you fix someone in place, then the finishing part is only a matter of time. If you were attacked in a certain spot more than likely it’s for the distinct advantage of the attacker. By moving and changing the angles you are disrupting the plan and can regain the initiative. If it is chance contact and you are losing the initiative, again the best course of action is to change the angles on the threat to regain it.

Don’t fight from the ground unless it is the last option you have. It is too easy to lose track of an adversary and across the hood or around a car it’s really just “who gets seen first gets shot first”. If an adversary rushes the vehicle you will not be able to counter his actions in a timely manner while trying to get up. Know how to do it but understand that fighting from the ground is a last resort. (This is something I learned the hard way and if my badguy had any skill, I would be dead.)

A vehicle that is not in motion is terrain and should be treated as an obstacle with enhanced concealment that provides an unpredictable level of ballistic protection. The best course of action is to immediately return the best suppressive fire you can to blunt the attack and then move as soon as is tactically prudent to regroup and counter-attack or withdraw. Changing the angles changes their plan and changes the fight. ( no truer words ever spoken)
– Mike Pannone ( Author), Retired Special OPS, owner of CTT Solutions.

Tags: CTT Solutions, Mike Pannone


Thanks Brother! Excellent info. We did some simuniton training fighting in and around vehicles. Like so many things, it was great quality, but nowhere near the quantity I’d want in a perfect world. But that’s always the way.

Even from that small but intense exposure, I found that getting shot at in a vehicle is an extremely uncomfortable position, even when the rounds aren’t live. I was acutely aware of how little ballistic protection those pillars provide from a determined attacker who knows how to shoot. Given the chance, I think I’d sooner run the guy over than try to fight with my pistol haha.

It really does seem to come down to mobility. Unless you’re in a very strong position with excellent cover, movement is life. Of course, in LE we rarely interact with people from a strong position with excellent cover.

Good info, as always. Thanks again. Be safe.


I stumbled across this quote today and I think it applies to everything from someone trying to take your lunch money to a full scale ISIS attack. Always be ready, because you cannot choose the rules.

“You do not get to choose your opposition’s time of attack, equipment selection, caliber and ammunition type, level of skill, level of motivation, level of disparity, numerical size, and most importantly, the fight doesn’t end because you decide it’s over”. Aaron Barruga.


Didn’t know where to place this
LEOs stay safe and THANKS.


Saw that the other day and it reminded me of this: